Irving v. Lipstadt


Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 24: Electronic Edition

Pages 56 - 60 of 192

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    I again am not a linguist but, if I look at the other
 1actually do not have the meaning of extermination.
 2I could probably show you dictionaries which have the
 3meaning of ----
 4 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I am really finding this all pretty
 5unilluminating really, because in the end we have to look
 6at the documents which actually do relate allegedly to
 7extermination, and decide whether ausrotten in that
 8context means extirpate.
 9 MR IRVING:     My Lord, it is an uphill task because we are
10looking backwards, down through the telescope so to speak,
11to the events of the 1940s and trying to work out what a
12word meant when in common usage at the time, when we find
13the common meaning of the word was quite different from
14the way every German, and every Englishman, now
15understands what you mean by it, because we know of the
16atrocities that happened.
17 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     One has to make allowance for that fact, I
19 MR IRVING:     The reason I am going through this, if I can put it
20like this, is that, if we are looking at what Adolf Hitler
21means when he says certain things or issued certain
22orders, we really need to know what the word meant in
23common usage at that time, and not what it now means at
24the beginning of the 21st century.
25 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     We really have spent a very long time on
26ausrotten and I think we have the full rage of

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 1possibilities in mind.
 2 MR IRVING:     That is the bad news. The good news is frankly
 3that I am going to accept without demur that most of the
 4meanings he applies to the other words, like Umsiedlung
 5and the rest.
 6 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     I think I have to say here that I last night found three
 7mistakes in the translation. I think I should correct
 9 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I think you probably should.
10 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     I know that I am responsible in the end -- I am not
11blaming the translator, I am responsible and for the
12text. It is in point 5.9 and it is on page 14. I think
13the term Juda must die should be translated not with
14Judaism must die, but simply with Juda must die, because
15it refers I think basically to the tribe of Juda and
16I think one cannot and should not translate the tribe of
17Juda with Judaism which has another meaning. The same
18would apply to 6.14. There is the same mistranslation.
19I apologise for that. In 6.7 actually the word nicht is
20not translated, so in 6.7 it says in the indented
21paragraph in the second sentence what does die and it
22should say what does not die. So this is unfortunately a
23mistake. I am sorry about that.
24 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Do not worry, that is fine. Shall we move
26 MR IRVING:     We are now dealing with your glossary. I must say

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 1I take exception to the title of your glossary because
 2this assumes a priori that there was such a programme to
 3exterminate or murder. Really what we are looking at is a
 4glossary of terms used by the Nazis in their programme of
 5persecution of the Jews, is it not? It includes murder in
 6some cases but it is all sorts of other things, is it not?
 7 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     In connection with a murder.
 8 Q. [Mr Irving]     Yes. You say in your paragraph 1.1 of your introduction,
 9that the Nazi regime avoided speaking of the murder of
10European Jews by name, in other words they did not like
11saying it.
12 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Yes.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]     Do you not yourself say in your report, I think it is
14round about paragraph 4.3.1 that the Einsatzgruppen
15reported quite frequently in most glowing terms of the
16killings they were carrying out and they made no bones
17about what they were doing?
18 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     I said here generally, so the Einsatzgruppen, of course
19there are exceptions and the most known exceptions are the
20Einsatzgruppen reports. If you look into the history of
21the Holocaust, this is rather a rare example, I think.
22Historians of the events in Russia are quite happy to have
23this, if I may use this term here, this source, but
24generally you are looking at the whole system. They were
25quite reluctant to use openly this expression.
26 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Yes.

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 1 MR IRVING:     Except that it is rather odd that you should argue
 2on the one hand there is this colossal use of euphemisms
 3everywhere, but on the other hand everyone is talking
 4about killing.
 5 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     No, not everybody is talking about killing. I made it
 6quite specific. We have some exceptions and the
 7Einsatzgruppen reports are the best example for that. Of
 8course there are more exceptions, but generally, and this
 9explains why we do not have more documents, we should
10imagine that an operation like this, the killing of about
116 million people, in the 20th century we should have more
12documents on that, because it was an operation on an
13unprecedented scale. But to explain that actually the
14number of documents is in a way limited, I am saying here
15generally they prefer not to speak about the killing.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]     Yes.
17 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     So in newspapers, for instance, and things like that they
18did not announce on the first page that we are killing the
19Jews today, 5,000 people got killed in Auschwitz. They
20tried to keep it as a state secret. Even in the
21bureaucracy you find the kind of hesitation. It was
22actually forbidden to use this terminology within the
23bureaucracy. Of course there were exceptions.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]     You refer to the speech by Heinrich Himmler at Posnan on
25October 4th 1943 in your paragraph 1.2.
26 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     43 or 44?

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 1 MR IRVING:     It was actually 1943. I think that is mistake in
 2the report, my Lord.
 3 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     1943, yes. That is a mistake.
 4 Q. [Mr Irving]     That is quite an ordinary speech, is it not?
 5 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Yes.
 6 Q. [Mr Irving]     Why is it extraordinary in the context of what we are
 7talking about this morning?
 8 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Yes, he is saying: I also want to talk to you quite
 9frankly about a very grave matter, we can talk about it
10quite openly among ourselves, but nevertheless we can
11never speak of it publicly, just to underline my point,
12just as we did not hesitate on 13th June 1934 to do our
13duty as we were bidden and to stand comrades who had
14lapsed up against the wall and shoot them, so we have
15never spoken about it and will never speak of it. It was
16a natural assumption, an assumption which, thank God, is
17inherent in us, that we never discussed it among ourselves
18and never spoke of it. That is I think a remarkable
19passage. Then he is going on: "Most of you will know what
20it means to have 500 of a thousand corpses lying together
21before you. We have been through this and, disregarding
22exceptional cases of human weakness, to have remained
23decent. That is what has made has made us tough. This is
24a glorious page in our history, once that has never been
25written and can never be written". Of course, the last
26sentence is a kind of challenge for historians, I think.

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